While the GW men's water polo squad begins its season this weekend at the Navy Open, the team's 6-foot-1, 205-pound starting center will be in the South of France competing for his native Turkey at the European Under-19 Water Polo Championships.
Sophomore Ridvan Pehlivan will miss the first eight games of the Colonials' season while playing for his country at the tournament, which takes place Sept. 2-9 in the small commune of Canet-en Roussillon, France, on the Mediterranean coast.
The 16 teams that will vie for the 2012 title have been divided into four groups of four. Turkey will compete in Group B with Serbia, Montenegro and Ukraine. Those teams will play a round robin over the first three days of competition with the results determining the seeding for bracket play.
Turkey qualified for the Championships by winning all four games of the qualification tournament, defeating Georgia (10-6), Belarus (17-6), Moldova (11-4) and Cyprus (24-2).
A native of Istanbul, Turkey, Pehlivan posted impressive numbers for GW during his rookie campaign in 2011, ranking third on the team with 40 goals and tying for the team lead with 44 ejections drawn. Prior to coming to GW, he was a member of four Turkish national championship teams.
Be sure to check back in a few weeks to see how Turkey did and hear from Ridvan himself about the experience.